The Goal: Resetting
Rick and I started the 21 Day Sugar Detox. We both had indulged a bit too much on tasty summer fruit and felt the need to reset ourselves. I was dealing with a lot of sugar crashes and cravings which is uncomfortable and stressful. Rick wasn’t quite a bad off as I was, but felt it was a good idea to reset as well as challenge himself.
First, I got the books from the library. After reading through the directions we picked a level from which to start. Level Three worked best for us since we were already paleo. While we were both starting at the more advanced level, I could definitely appreciate the progressive break-down of the 21DSD into different levels. The idea is that picking the level closest to the way you already eat allows you to focus on beating sugar cravings rather than going “full paleo” (or whatever) and maybe finding yourself in over your head. Less stress should correlate to better choices.
After picking a level, we needed decide if there were alterations either of us would need to make. For Rick and I that wasn’t too challenging – we knew which foods were safe and which foods to avoid even if they were “safe”. We also knew where our activity levels fell – would more or less carbs be a good idea. For instance, Rick would be able to eat more winter squash than me because he plays soccer which is a more intense sport. Often with such sports a few more carbs can be beneficial. I knew from experience that going lower carb almost always makes me feel better and allows my blood sugar to balance quicker. Let it be noted that during the 21DSD I didn’t count carbs but simply followed the rules for people who don’t need the extra carbs.
The final bit of prep was shopping of course! We made sure that we had lots of protein and veggies on hand. I tried to plan a few days in advance and always had easy stuff in the fridge in case we underestimated how much we food actually needed.
- Probably all fruit – though I did test out lemons and limes
- Few carbs (as mentioned above)
- Tomatoes and tomato based meals were limited
Honestly, in starting this challenge I felt less stressed. The 21DSD only allows a limited selection of fruits: green bananas (which I can’t have due to their starchiness), green apples, lemons, limes, and maybe grapefruit. Because of the limited fruit options I felt fewer cravings. Which is fantastic because fruit is my candy! Rick also didn’t have much trouble with decreasing his fruit. His only “problem” was forgetting what was allowed and what wasn’t. Overall, not a big deal.
Second week in, I started to feel a bit better – less blood sugar instability. Win! We made Lemon Vanilla Meltaways, which were amazing! The first night I definitely ate too many. That week we also added in winter squash which is allowed in limited quantities – about a 1/2 cup daily unless you are altering for more intensive activities, which Rick did on soccer days. Myself, needing to stay lower carb, tried to stay within the limit.
In week 3 of the 21DSD I definitely played with the idea of continuing for a little longer. Cravings for sweeter things decreased a bunch. I got my hands on 100% cacao(baking chocolate) and allowed myself a little bit any day I felt like it. Believe it or not I don’t think 100% cacao tastes too intense. I like the bitterness and it does help with feelings of deprivation. I know it’s not for everyone, but at least give it a try. You never know – you might actually like real chocolate!
In the third week I did have a couple of challenges. One was winter squash – I pushed that limit. It’s hard to say if it caused issues or not. I know I do better lower carb – which includes limited winter squash already. However, I don’t know for sure if the extra squash was detrimental for the goal of beating sugar cravings. The second was just eating a bit too much. When one’s thyroid is off(as mine turned out to be), one’s hunger signals can get confused, but that’s for another post. Also, I love food.
Overall, I feel as though 21 whole days of limited sweetness was hugely beneficial for me. I’m going to continue on with it until I feel like I want to or need to add things back into my diet. I still feel as though my blood sugar could use support (or lack of abuse) for awhile longer. Rick is excited to add a bit more fruit into his diet. He’s expressed how he feels as though he’s way less dependent on sweetness now though. Overall, we both found the challenge to be a useful tool. And did you know that lemons are actually sweet? Ha!